This morning I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate about the appalling performance of Southern Rail. The service has been totally unacceptable. Particular issues are lateness, cancellations, station skipping and short trains leading to overcrowding. Rails users in Purley, Sanderstead Coulsdon and elsewhere are being short changed.
Train punctuality is down to 82% on Southern Railway, the worst in the UK and compares terribly to the 95% on London Overground. 5% of trains are cancelled or are seriously late. Southern’s targets for improvement are currently too low.
Which found that Southern has the worst customer satisfaction of any UK rail line for punctuality. Transport Focus found satisfaction at just 60% for commuters, the lowest in the UK and a fraction of the 94% enjoyed by the Heathrow Express and East Coast Mainline.
Southern Rail users subsidise other parts of the rail network, yet get the worst service.
I called on the Rail Minister to:
· Continue to personally chair weekly task force meetings until the problems are fixed
· Improve the Delay Repay compensation system so that it is payable after 15 minutes delay not 30 minutes and so that repayments are automated. Only 12% of eligible people currently claim under the scheme
· Fine the operators for station skipping
· Look again at whether Southern deserve to keep the franchise if there are not improvements
I will continue to keep the pressure up on Southern and the Rail Minister.